Japanese cemetery in the trees

My wife was in Tokyo recently and took this beautiful photo of this moss-covered cemetery in the trees. Most Japanese cemeteries are Buddhist and are located around a temple. I'll post eventually her photos from the temple grounds.

In Japan, cemeteries are generally considered spooky and gloomy -- Japanese visit graves of loved ones on few occasions yearly, usually just on the anniversary of a death and during the spring and fall equinox.

I just thought the setting here was beautiful and worth sharing. When your typography reads from top to bottom, it leads to tall & narrow headstones for a totally different aesthetic than we left-to-right readers are used to.


  1. I love the moss in Japanese gardens. Interesting about the tall slender stones, I hadn't thought of it that way... about the language. I think I just thought it took less space where space is at a premium, unlike our wide (but getting narrower) spaces.

  2. I like the shot of the tall, thin headstones. The grass is so long, something you don't often see in cemeteries around here. Moss...luv it. Outside only, of course. Look forward to more of your wife's photos.

  3. It is interesting the insight one gains into a culture in a cemetery, the way language affects the headstones being only one. Just this morning I was talking to a friend who has traveled to Mumbai and he described a beautiful hill where the Zoroastrians lay out their dead for the birds to eat.

  4. well, if the japanese think cemeteries should be spooky, they did a good job! beautiful, but in a spooky way!

  5. Barbee,
    I'm a designer and fancy myself a typographer (though very few of those exist any more!) I thin about typography all day long. I've also had a little bit of experience with using Chinese text. It's the first thing I noticed.

    I'm thinking my headstone will be a planter. I can be cremated for fertilizer. Those I leave behind will probably plant something thorny.

    Birdfood? I guess it's a way to go. I guess it gets you back into the circle of life quicker than rotting in a hole.

    It does look spooky. I find most of ours to be beautiful spaces with great landscaping. During the day.

    How It Grows,
    I like 'em too.


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